I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this honest review voluntarily.
I've drifted from urban fantasy over the years, because as a genre I simply find it too repetitive (and I enjoy hard-boiled crime fiction, so you know I have a lower threshold for repetition than most). So, it was with some trepedation that I began book one of Ta Le, Knowledge - much to my relief, Knowledge is a breath of fresh air. Simply being based on African mythology is enough to make an English-language fantasy stand out, of course, but Knowledge's plot, too, was unique enough to capture me. Some elements are similar to the first (eponymous) novel in Lukyanenko's Night Watch series, so perhaps it might not seem as fresh if you're coming straight off the back of that, but Knowledge will be something new to most readers.
This is an impressive effort for a self-published novel, and I hope Yessoh manages to find a more traditional publishing house, and the wide audience he deserves. He also deserves another editor - he thanks several in the acknowledgements, and I'm sure their work is invaluable, but there are just a few small mistakes here that a 9-5, non-volunteer editor could catch: continuity errors, a few repetitions that seem like (but might not be) mistakes, and the odd misuse of a word or two ("quaint" especially - it's used according to it's dictionary definition, basically just "old", but considering that it's actual vernacular use is "charmingly old-fashioned", it's not the best word Yessoh could have chosen to describe ancient, otherworldly horrors).
As other reviewers have mentioned on Goodreads, I liked Kobenan more than Joel and preferred his sections of the book. Joels' first two sections, especially, dragged a lot compared to Kobenan's; the book mostly kept me on the edge of my seat, but even though Joel sees djinn, his teenage concerns are a bit unexciting after Kobenan's dealings with the President, Great Chiefs, and sorcerers. I think they wouldn't have seemed like such a drag if we'd gotten to them sooner (I would have suggested opening with Joel's first chapters before jumping to Kobenan, rather than the reverse, but the first chapter of this book is the perfect beginning - I actually wasn't planning to start reading this book when I did, but after the first page I couldn't let go!). Once Joel goes on the run this ceases to be an issue (though I still preferred Kobenan's POV).
Knowledge could use a bit of polish, but even so, I'd highly recommend it for any fantasy reader. I'm excited for the next installment, and (as I said) I hope Yessoh finds a publisher who can give him the audience he deserves.